Former Dallas Cowboys Assistant coach and current Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano passed away at the age of 56, according to the team. The Vikings announced Sparano’s death, but they didn’t provide a cause.
“Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren,” Mark and Zygi Wilf, Vikings owners, said in the statement. “Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed.”
“I am at a loss for words with Tony’s sudden passing. Tony loved the game of football and his players. More importantly, he was a strong man of faith who treasured his family. My heart is with the Sparanos today. As an organization, we will support them in whatever ways we can,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement.
Sparano’s coaching career in the NFL started in 1999, and he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. He was the Dolphins head coach from 2008 to 2011, and he had a 29-32 record. With his first season with Miami, he won the AFC East.
Sparano also spends some time with the Browns, Redskins, 49ers, and Jaguars.
The former Cowboys assistant coach played at the University of New Haven, and he was hired as their head coach in 1994 and spent five seasons there. Sparano left behind his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren and he will be missed by his family as well as the teams he made an impact on.